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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Waterways Commission, March 6, 2006
MARCH 6, 2006
MEMBERS PRESENT: Rick Murray, Chairman; Mark Patterson, Acting Harbormaster; Howie Kreutzberg; Geoff Gaughan. ALSO PRESENT: Ed Karl; Diana Decker; Paul Reidy; Steve Bailey, boat owner; Dick Twigg; Don Hourihan, Associate Member; Bill Schmid, Associate Member; Kathy Donahue; Bill and Janet Fairbanks; Martha Twigg.
As there was no quorum, Mr. Murray emphasized that this was strictly an informational meeting. These are notes taken at the meeting.
Mr. Murray asked if there were any comments on the Minutes of February 6, 2006, and said that a vote would be held to accept the Minutes at the next WWC meeting.
Mr. Murray circulated correspondence with relation to the mouth of the South River and disposal of dredge material; he said that a letter of February 26, 2006 from Keith Dobie to Lt. Gov. Healey neatly sums up the situation. He said that the situation at the mouth of the river, which is very shallow, is extremely dangerous and he was anxious to get it resolved. He said that this afternoon he received an email from Rep. Hynes, and spoke to his legislative aide who said that “this has gone on long enough; this has to be solved now”. Mr. Murray said that he would see if it could be declared an emergency situation to expedite the dredging; although we have missed the deadline for this season it could be set up to begin immediately at the beginning of the next season.
He then turned to a letter from Mr. Patterson to Mr. Hynes regarding the Seaport Advisory Council and the situation with bond authorization. Mr. Patterson said that Reps. Hynes and Bradley said they would be supportive of the bond authorization. He said that the SAC will be meeting in April and he would hope to hear from them by then regarding the funds Scituate is hoping to receive from them as per the February SAC meeting.
Mr. Murray said that Mr. Ferguson had resigned from the WWC and read his resignation letter.
Mr. Patterson said that the operational budget was approved at Town Meeting on Saturday. He also said that over 90 percent of the user fee has been collected, this is significantly higher than in years past. He said they are moving forward with the fairway; more moorings will be impacted than previously thought; the area of the fairway is between the federal and state dredging project so that depth may be an issue and should be dealt with in the spring. Regarding marina expansion, he said he met with Mr. Pena with feedback. He asked Mr. Pena to put out markers to see how moorings will be affected. Mr. Patterson also said that about 1000 postcards regarding the online survey for SMP were sent out last week. Mr. Fairbanks said that the patrol season is going to be extended two weeks before and two weeks after the season. Mr. Murray added that the SMPC will be holding an open house meeting at the Town Library from 7-8 P.M. on Thursday night.
Mr. Murray said they met with Jim Montanari of DPW; and Jack Sheppard of the Public Access Board and Tony Stella, chief engineer in charge of the Jericho Ramp project. He said that preliminary plans have been sketched out and that there will be a 15 percent grade from top to bottom and the bottom will extend 10 feet further than the present one and a prop wash will add another 10 feet; this will make it minus six. He said the parking plan will be looked at as well. He described materials and technique that will be used. He said the float system on the adjacent pier will be redone. Some pilings will be replaced. He said an RFP for a consultant will be sent out by them in 6-8 weeks. The floats will be $60-70,000; the ramp will be c. $300,000; all funded by the state, zero cost to Scituate. It will be 2010 or 2011 before the project is completed. Mr. Murray said that getting the legislators involved could cut the time in half or better. He said that they talked about fees, and that a fee could be charged as long as there is no differential for residents and nonresidents. The typical day fee is $5.00 and $50 for ten days; a lock box is typically used. He said that it is justified to charge ramp users in this way to support operations. He also said he and Mr. Sheppard had talked about other potential projects such as the canoe launch at SMP. Ms. Fairbanks suggested putting the float down the middle at Jericho; Mr. Murray said that he would bring this up. He said that they may consider suggesting to legislators that they earmark a supplement for the ramp cost. Mr. Patterson said regarding short term fixes to the ramp, that cracks in concrete and voids on the northern side, and scoured out hole in the middle have been targeted for patching. He said he thinks temporary repairs would be completed in time for the upcoming boating season. He said they are awaiting an updated quote on repair cost. He said that Mr. Kalishus, Conservation Commissioner, has been very much in the loop on this project. Mr. Fairbanks asked if boards along the side would be replaced; rusty bolts are sticking out. Mr. Patterson said he would look into this. Town residents asked about the location of the fairway and relocation of moorings. Mr. Fairbanks observed that there would be a net reduction in the number of moorings as a result of the re-creation of the fairway. He said that one business would benefit from the loss of moorings and other changes. Mr. Patterson said that the fairway would improve emergency access. Ms. Donahue said that three or four moorings appear to be blocking part of the fairway; this happened eight or ten years ago. Mr. Murray said that re-creation of the fairway will help with looking at regridding. Mr. Fairbanks said that maybe 30 or 40 moorings will be lost in the various proposed changes in the Harbor, along with their revenues; and he was concerned that fees would be increased to recover revenue lost by losing moorings. Ms. Twigg said that she can no longer sail up to her mooring because of the crowding of moorings, and it is no longer pleasurable sailing into Scituate. Mr. Murray said that it is a good idea to have a strategy with increasing pressures on the Harbor. Ms. Donahue said that it appears that some of the older mariners have been moved around in favor of the newer mariners. Mr. Patterson said the mooring field in Scituate Harbor is one of the densest he’s ever seen, and it got that way not under his watch; they have inherited this situation, and he will bend over backward to avoid impacting people who have been boating in the Harbor for many years. Mr. Twigg said that his mooring is at about four feet as dredging did not go to that area; Mr. Patterson said that he had brought the matter of dredging patterns up at the February meeting and that he will be keeping this situation in mind. Mr. Kreutzberg said access into Scituate Marine Park should be kept in mind. Mr. Twigg said there is shoaling on the edges and key floats could be wrapping around into the shallower water to make more room in the center.
Mr. Murray said he and Mr. Patterson had received an email from Ed Karl regarding an excessive mooring pennant that caused $3200 of damage to his boat, and there will be litigation as a result via his insurance company. Mr. Karl said that an annual inspection of mooring length should be conducted and there should be a $100 fine for noncompliance; repeated offenses should cause loss of access at the Harbor. He also mentioned illegal renting of moorings. Ms. Fairbanks pointed out that it can be difficult to judge the correct length of the pennant. Mr. Patterson said that insurance papers do not have to be given to the Harbormaster; he would like to see this changed so that proof of insurance is given to the Town. He said that mooring tackle is the responsibility of the owner; the mooring services work as agents of the Harbormaster and so are authorized to do inspections. Mr. Patterson said that in this particular instance the mooring owner’s insurance company paid for the damage, which is the correct result. Mr. Karl said that the insurance company will look to recover funds from the mooring service; and if they are uninsured they will look to the Town for those funds. Ms. Donahue said that Waterline is a sublessor of Mr. Foster’s, and Mr. Foster leases the land from the Town, so it behooves the Town to make sure the sublessor has insurance. Mr. Karl said the top part of the mooring changes on a yearly basis; therefore an annual inspection should be conducted. Mr. Patterson said that individual owners are responsible for their moorings. Mr. Patterson agreed with Mr. Reidy that insurance papers should be filed at the Harbormaster’s office. Mr. Murray summarized that the HM’s office would certify the mooring service to do an annual inspection. Ms. Decker said that the mooring service could do the inspection but what is to prevent the owner from making a change later on in the season? Ms. Donahue suggested a deadline be set for filing insurance papers with the Harbormaster’s office and suggested April 1. Mr. Murray thanked Mr. Karl for bringing up this matter.
Regarding WWC personnel and replacement of Mr. Ferguson: Mr. Murray said that the WWC could make recommendations to the Selectmen. Mr. Murray said that Mr. Schmid and Mr. Hourihan as Associate Members regularly attend meetings and asked them if they might be interested in being considered for the full time membership. Mr. Hourihan said that he would like to pass at this time, but would like to be considered in the next go-around. Mr. Schmid said that he would be eager to become a full member. There was a question about whether Associate Members can vote in the absence of a quorum. Mr. Murray said that he would welcome interested people to attend meetings and express interest in serving on the commission.
In new business, Ms. Donahue said that the marina is averaging the fee now and is charging the average to private marina users; she is therefore paying more now for her 18 foot boat. Mr. Murray suggested that this would be a matter to take up with the marina, but that the Town charging an average to the marinas gave them the idea to do this. Ms. Donahue suggested the Harbormaster walk the marinas every two weeks or so to get to know people. Ms. Fairbanks said that she is disturbed that Driftway Park is being closed to trailers, and that this will result in more use in Cole Parkway and that there should be trailer parking demarcated. Mr. Patterson asked Mr. Reidy how this might work; he also said that the Public Access Board would like to see trailer parking at the ramps. Mr. Reidy said that parking at Cole Parkway is a problem. He also said that the rock at the Cole Parkway back ramp will prevent a lot of people from launching there. Ms. Fairbanks said that the WWC should try to help make as many provisions as possible for access. Mr. Murray said that it will be interesting to see the impact of the change of use of the Driftway Park; and that no parking changes could be made before the season begins. Ms. Decker asked about the change of regulations for mooring blocks. There was a discussion about concrete vs. granite.
7. The NEXT MEETING was scheduled for Monday, April 3, 2006 (note: the meeting was subsequently rescheduled to Monday, April 10 at the Harbormaster’s Garage.
The discussion ended at 9:20 P.M.
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